By Chloe Wong (19S07C), Ina Song (19S07C) and Isabelle Tan (19S03S)
Photos courtesy of Dionne Pok (19S06P) and @harapanong on Instagram
In conjunction with the upcoming Teachers’ Day celebrations, Raffles Press brings you a series of teacher features for you to get to know more about your teachers and their interesting lives. In this article, we feature Mr Harapan Ong, who juggles being a physics teacher and being a magician.
How did you first get into magic?
Watching a lot of magic shows on TV (e.g. David Copperfield) just got me interested in figuring out how the tricks worked, and it ignited the desire in me to want to present that same sense of mystery to other people around me.
How long have you been doing magic?
It’s hard to say. It’s been a lifelong passion. I got my first kid’s magic set (filled with plastic toys and props) for my 10th birthday, but I only got really serious into magic at around the age of 15.
How has it been handling the responsibilities of a teacher and that of a magician?
Easy peasy. Beloved physics teacher by day, mysterious and handsome magician by night.
Okay fine. I was just joking – I am not really that mysterious.
Well, luckily for me, since becoming a teacher, I have not been performing as much, but focused my efforts on inventing new routines and tricks and publishing them so that other magicians can learn and use them in their shows. In a way, I’m working in the background now, which I do enjoy.
Are there any other interesting hobbies you would like to share about?
I’m a pretty boring person – I don’t really have any other significant hobby outside of magic. If I am not doing something related to work or physics, I am doing something related to magic. A lot of my side hobbies are somehow related to magic – reading magic books, making playing card origami / kirigami, cardistry, watching magic videos on YouTube, running my Instagram account (follow at @harapanong)…
Let’s just say I am very loyal to my art.
Any funny classroom incidents worth sharing?
Hmm… I recently had a student who went to the toilet during my lesson, and didn’t come back because he somehow locked himself in the toilet. It took about 45 minutes for the maintenance man to tear the door down in order for him to escape from his lavatorial confinement. That made me chuckle.
Any advice for us as students?
Most important advice I have is that no matter what is troubling you right now – school work, CCA, friendship problems, relationship problems – I promise you that one day, you will look back at this period of time in your life and realise that a lot of these problems don’t really matter. Don’t be so strung up and caught up with these things and focus on living a happy and fulfilling life. Believe me when I say that it will get better, and one day you will think back and wonder why you were ever so worried about your life.